Category: Cloud

Provide a balanced case for adopting a move to the cloud and increase your buy-in on the project with anticipated ROI.

When Presenting a Move to the Cloud, Provide a Balanced Case

Provide a balanced case for adopting a move to the cloud and increase your buy-in on the project with anticipated ROI.You’ve determined that a move to the cloud is in your company’s best interests, but now you have to sell it to the decision-makers. You may be tempted to start your presentation off right away by discussing the expected benefits from housing your solutions in the cloud, like flexibility, agility, performance, cost savings, and scalability. But your executives also want to know the return on investment (ROI), so be ready to discuss it in order to get buy-in on your transition.

Determine the cost of ownership for your on-premises option. While estimating the ROI of your on-premises solution may not be precise, it will still put cloud investment in perspective. There are three key pieces of information you should gather first:

  • The cost of the necessary equipment
  • The projected lifespan of the solution
  • The cost of capital (how much you could expect to earn if you invested that money elsewhere)

Next, gather information about your operating expenses:

  • Floor space
  • Staff to monitor and administer servers
  • Electricity
  • Security and backup services

Add up these costs and divide them by the projected lifespan of your equipment to estimate the monthly cost of ownership for an on-premises system.

Explain the value that the organization will gain from the cloud. There are a multitude of benefits you could discuss, but it’s important to talk about the financial gains that improve the overall ROI in a cloud transition versus an on-premises solution. There are several areas that will impact your cost savings in the cloud:

  • Less IT maintenance
  • Categorization of software subscriptions as operating expenses versus capital investments
  • No investment in hardware
  • Scalability and flexibility
  • Improved performance

Have a plan for controlling cloud costs. While it may be impossible to produce exact numbers for your ROI, you’ll gain more fans in the board room if you have a solid plan for controlling costs. For instance, how will your cloud solution handle cold data storage and how much will it cost to retrieve and rehydrate that cold data? It’s also good to have a plan for areas like cloud bursting and shadow IT. Determining the costs of migration will also prevent surprises when it comes to the total cost of ownership for a cloud solution.

At MicroCorp, we’re always ready to collaborate and innovate. We are committed to your success and would love to talk more about your cloud migration and find out how we can help. Contact us today to get started.

What are the Security Benefits of a Multi-Cloud Solution?

Learn about how disaster recovery, cloud storage, and more can help improve your cyber security.A multi-cloud approach works well for a large number of enterprises. RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report found that 85 percent have a multi-cloud strategy. That is up from 2016 where 82 percent reported a multi-cloud approach.

There are several benefits to implementing a multi-cloud solution:

  • Disaster recovery: A cloud outage serves to demonstrate the potential pitfalls of a single cloud solution. Many companies haven’t fully thought through their disaster-recovery procedures, but multi-cloud does offer protection compared to a single point failure.
  • Prevention of lock-in: Enterprises are reluctant to lock in with only one vendor, and multi-cloud approach allows them the flexibility to switch vendors or take advantage of the benefits of each of a variety of vendors.
  • Workload performance: Enterprises like the ability to match the workload with the cloud provider that makes the most sense. For instance, Windows applications workloads match best with Microsoft Azure.
  • Cloud hydration: One of the challenges of digital transformation is the movement of data from traditional storage to cloud storage. A multi-cloud environment makes it easier to concurrently move data to new cloud platforms.

A couple of major, multi-hour cloud outages that occurred this year provided some guidelines for establishing an even better, more secure multi-cloud solution:

Store data in two locations. In case of a cloud outage, it’s a good idea to store data in two places so that you are never fully compromised on your ability to access data. There are several approaches to this, such as storing data both in a cloud storage solution and an on-premises server, or you can use a single-cloud solution with multiple access points.

Choose redundancy architecture: Duplicate your major applications in multiple locations. Whether you are employing public or private cloud, a hybrid solution or an on-site system, consider implementing redundancy policies so that you avoid lock-in with one provider or the risk of not being able to access your key software during an outage.

Check out the competition: Check out their competition, not yours. The increase in cloud providers means that you can use a multi-cloud solution to choose the applications that make the most sense for you, based on both cost and security features of the provider.

Choose native storage options: This means that you want to choose providers and storage solutions in which storage is a core feature, not an additional feature that’s “bolted on” to another application.

At MicroCorp, we come alongside you to help you design a secure multi-cloud environment that matches providers to your specific business needs. Call us today for more information.

Cloud: How It Changed Itself, and Us

How have cloud services changed the way that channel partners do business?Today’s cloud environment has picked up steam from a “customer acceptance” point of view: customers are adopting cloud in general at a much faster rate than we had expected them to. We no longer pitch cloud — our clients ask us about it. And, while cloud has been a boon for many, it’s important to remember that new technologies can come with a set of challenges that are shifting the telecom and IT markets in various ways.

Cloud Evolution

Cloud started on the email side with products like Office 365, then moved into phone systems with hosted technology; now we get questions about moving servers to the cloud. The transition from email to phone to infrastructure was rapid, and all three are still growing. From the transformation of backup (moving from tape to cloud) to the developments from giants like AWS, cloud is an ever-evolving beast. And we expect to see more in the way of private cloud infrastructure in the future.

Price Erosion Forces Change
Price erosion on connectivity and network deals is a big concern in the telecom world these days, and cloud offers the opportunity to pivot and go deeper with customers by offering more solutions. But it’s important to call out our experience here at SinglePoint in this regard: we have not felt the effects of price erosion the way we thought we would because the need for bandwidth has kept up with the erosion.

Where we were selling 10 Mbps, we now sell 100 Mbps. Where we were selling MPLS, we are now selling SD-WAN. While pricing does keep going down, market trends have pushed us to rethink our partnerships and our sales model as well as to adopt and use cloud as a product. It has forced our hand to move more into IT from the pure telecom sphere we used to work in, and we have made partnerships in order to conduct IT risk assessments and build upon private cloud architecture.

Cloud Changes the Market
There have been continual mergers and acquisitions across carriers, and as the big get bigger, we have fewer and fewer providers. Now, we see all these new providers coming up; not as carrier services, but as cloud companies and hosted phone companies. Where there used to be 50 CLECs, there are 100 new hosted phone companies and hundreds of new SD-WAN companies. As they come out of the woodwork, we see cloud changing what businesses are offering.

What’s in Store
In 2015, our core carrier products (internet, MPLS, voice services, etc.) were 90% of our sales. In 2016, 40% of our sales were non-traditional telecom products such as cloud systems, hosted contact management solutions, hosted phones, cloud-based architecture, and cellular. That huge shift tells us to expect more change, and to think ahead about our offerings.

Cloud Technology Provides Opportunity for Data Centers to Reorganize

Learn how cloud services are helping data centers reorganize.The days of major data center expansion are numbered. That’s what a recent survey by 451 Group’s Uptime Institute indicates may be the result of increasing traffic in the cloud. Companies are no longer stretched thin at their data centers, but are instead looking for ways to reorganize them now that the cloud is relieving storage space problems.

The survey included a variety of executives from traditional enterprise companies, including IT directors and facilities managers from retailers, banks, and manufacturers. Here are some of the key findings about how data centers are being impacted by increasing cloud software and storage investments:

The shrinking isn’t proportional: The expansion of cloud technology and investment in software in the cloud has resulted in companies feeling a bit of relief in their data centers. Storage options available in the cloud mean that IT departments may experience a little less push to keep expanding data storage. In most cases, however, this relief is not experienced at the same pace that cloud investment is growing.

Capacity planning is still a big investment: Almost half of the respondents responsible for facilities were working on upgrading infrastructure, cooling infrastructure, and improving power availability as part of their capacity planning strategy.

New data centers are still springing up: 30 percent of respondents were involved in plans to build new data centers.

Getting more out of existing data centers: While many companies are using third-party vendors to handle increasing demand for data storage, they are also focusing on improving support for existing on-site systems. An IT director is no longer seeking out a $50 million investment in a data center, but is instead asking for smaller amounts to improve the data center that’s there. In most cases, it’s turning out to be easier to get approval for investments in supporting and protecting the legacy technology.

IT teams work with various solutions to handle demand for storage: The survey revealed that 40 percent of respondents will work to consolidate servers in the next year and 33 percent will deploy additional workloads to the cloud. Thirty-three percent of respondents say they will update or upgrade their existing physical infrastructure.

While the cloud provides solutions for a wealth of processing and storage challenges, companies are recognizing the need for continued investment in on-site resources. Cloud storage provides much-needed relief for over-stretched data centers and allows IT teams to focus on improving support and security for their legacy systems.

Want to know more about how cloud is affecting the data center? Check out MicroCorp’s Data Center Market Report library for industry expertise.

To learn more about how the cloud is impacting the IT practices of individual companies like yours, talk with our specialists at MicroCorp, experts in cloud, connectivity, and communications.

Reasons Your Technology Will Never Be Exclusively in the Cloud

Cloud adoption is increasing, but your technology will never be cloud-exclusive.It’s a nice picture, imagining all your software needs handled by one neat cloud service. In that picture, your team works without the encumbrance of hardware and your updates never interrupt anyone’s processing. You pay your monthly support and subscriptions, but are never forced to face a board of directors in a tight, itchy suit to get approval for a monstrous new software implementation.

The picture is nice, but it’s likely a corporate fairy tale. There are plenty of reasons why the idea of a cloud-only software environment is probably never going to be a reality:

Getting access: One of the key barriers to an exclusively cloud environment is the need for employees to be able to access applications. Even if every application is housed in the cloud, you’ll still need a way to get to your software and a way for your IT team to govern which team members are authorized to access each application.

Lifecycles of certain products: If you work in an industry in which products have a short lifecycle, it may seem that it’s just a matter of time before everything is in the cloud. On the other hand, when you consider a product like insurance, for example, you can see that on-site systems will be necessary for a policy that was created decades ago in an on-premises mainframe.

Security: The security of cloud software is often debated, but some aspects of the security issue aren’t related to whether cloud technology can protect your data. Some security discussions are about the possession of information and its legal, physical and virtual location according to regulations. IT professionals in the financial, banking, and legal industries must tread carefully when they consider cloud-based applications. There’s good reason to believe that some industries will never embrace cloud solutions because it would compromise legality.

Lock-in: Enterprises are often wary of the idea of locking in with a particular provider of cloud services. Even though cloud technology comes with agility and flexibility, it still requires an investment of time and money to implement a new application. As a result, companies are reluctant to partner with a single cloud services provider in a way that may prevent them from adopting other software that they need to optimize productivity or reduce costs.

To determine how to implement the best possible mix of cloud and on-site software for your company, talk with our consultants at MicroCorp. We can help you identify the applications that are a good initial choice for cloud software to improve efficiency and reduce costs.